Edit: This post was updated in November 2016.
I mentioned it last week in my “Travel Must-Haves” list, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise, but I hardly ever travel without a scarf. After about a decade of independent travel, I’ve come to know what to look for in a the perfect travel scarf.
While you might not get a single scarf that covers every single travel situation you might find yourself in, there are some great questions to ask yourself to find the most versatile one.
Related: Looking for a travel jacket to make travel even more convenient? Here are some of the best and most handy travel jackets with hidden pockets.
Do you want to wear a purse?
No? Me neither. That’s why I love scarf concepts like the SHOLDIT Infinity Clutch Wrap Scarf.
Besides being stylish in colors and patterns, and made from a Valerie-travel-stain resistant material, it’s super functional. The built-in zippered pocket is perfect for your passport, phone, credit and ID cards, or lip gloss… or all of the above!
This scarf can also be worn as a head wrap, shawl, or many other ways, making it handy for moments where you didn’t pack or put on enough layers.
The strength really comes from that zippered pocket since you can also tuck the scarf into its own pocket and pack it away in a corner of your bag without it consuming too much space.
Do you want to look damn good?
When it comes to any situation that requires a scarf and also requires that I look good, the first thing I reach for is my Pashmina scarf.
I love the rich burgundy and deep gold Pashmina that’s been in my wardrobe for years, but I’m particularly smitten with this richly golden reversible Deosai Design by CJ Apparel. It feels very Asian and Eastern inspired, and is sure to give you a boost of worldliness in the eyes of those you’re dressing up for (even if it’s just yourself in the mirror!).
The other thing that’s wonderful about Pashmina scarfs is that they are great in multiple temperatures: they’re light enough to handle a summer evening on the coast of somewhere exotic, and they’re heavy enough if you double or quadruple fold them to handle a bitter winter wind.
Do you sometimes need ‘me time?’
This picture is admittedly not the most visually descriptive introduction to the Napper Multipurpose Hoodie & Scarf. It kind of looks like one of those funny hats with animal paws and ears… and at its base, it’s the same idea. However, sometimes having a true hood can come to your advantage: it makes a statement about whether or not people should approach you. In the case of the Napper, it also does a lot more.
Deep breath before I launch into this… Okay: it’s foldable and washable, meaning you can chuck it in the hostel washing machine without too much concern. The built-in headphones allow you to covertly unwind with your favorite tunes, and conveniently don’t need to be removed for washing. There are built in pillows in the hoodie to help you rest during long travels.
With all those features and possibilities, are you sold yet on how this somewhat unusual piece of clothing is actually going to be one of your best friends in providing those little comforts you miss from home?
Does travel make you a bit uncomfortable?
Even I am uncomfortable traveling! Whether it’s a cramped middle seat on the airplane, a bit of turbulence, or a delayed plane/train/automobile – travel isn’t as glamorous as it looks on Instagram.
Times like these call for a blanket scarf: a big, fluffy, cozy scarf that can be wrapped so that it nearly envelopes your whole body. You can also use it as a blanket (whoa!), a pillow, a spread for a spontaneous picnic… you name it!
Blanket scarves are all the rage right now, but you can get one on Amazon easily enough. I really like the variety of colors available from Neal LINK, including this funky orange and blue one.